Thomson given Master Innholder status for outstanding career

James Thomson OBE

James Thomson OBE, owner of renowned Edinburgh hospitality venues The Witchery and Prestonfield House, has been awarded Master Innholder status.

Thomson is one of Scotland’s best-known independent restaurateurs and hoteliers, with a distinctively luxurious portfolio. He is among just 10 industry-leading professionals who have received the Master Innholder award this year in recognition of their outstanding contribution to hospitality.

Prestonfield House

The award, created by the Worshipful Company of Innholders, is given to those that have demonstrated themselves as influential and inspirational leaders within the hotel industry.

Chairman of the Master Innholders, Dan Rose-Bristow FIH MI, said: “To become a Master Innholder, you need to demonstrate great leadership qualities, your reasons for wanting to become a Master Innholder, what you stand for as a hotelier, your involvement in the wider hospitality community in terms of education and charity, and an appreciation of the heritage and traditions of the Worshipful Company of Innholders, who award the honour.

“Our 10 successful applicants this year all demonstrated their passion and drive for our profession and were all committed to becoming an active part of our community. I am extremely proud to welcome all these inspiring individuals to our family, who will become Master Innholders when they receive their award from the Worshipful Company of Innholders in June.”

James is described as a significant player within the Scottish hospitality scene and a ‘great inspiration’ within the industry. He opened The Witchery aged 20, and has since successfully designed and managed some of Edinburgh’s most beloved restaurants, building a worldwide reputation for great Scottish food, wine and service.

Appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Edinburgh in 2018, he has been credited with helping regenerate Edinburgh’s Old Town into a vibrant tourist destination and in 2005, was awarded an OBE for his services to Scottish Hospitality and Tourism.

As a member of the Prince’s Trust Scottish Advisory Board, James created the annual ‘Lunch with an Old Bag’ event in aid of the charity, which has raised over £7 million since its launch in 2009 and has helped change the lives of over 7000 young people in Scotland.

He is also a Founding Patron of Springboard UK which helps disadvantaged and unemployed people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue a career in hospitality, gaining the skills, knowledge and experience needed to flourish in this sector.